Why we will continue Hanne Schafer’s fight
In February 2015 The Supreme Court of Canada ruled to legalise assisted dying in specific circumstances. The court later gave the federal government till 6 June to come up with a law on physician-assisted death, and in the meantime people could apply for an exemption to the current law. Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sheilah Martin granted the application by Ms Hanne Schafer on 1 March 2016 in a written decision that Schafer had met the criteria as she is a competent adult with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” that causes intolerable suffering that can’t be alleviated and who clearly consents to the termination of life. On Feb. 29, Ms Hanne Schafer became the first person in Canada, outside of Quebec, to be allowed to legally end her life with help from a doctor. In April, an Alberta judge lifted a publication ban on her case, allowing her story to be told. This is a piece written by Schafer’s friend, Mary Valentich, a professor emerita in Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary.